About 2,000 Islamic State Fighters Remain in Syria’s Raqqa — Coalition observes car bomb kill SDF troops as danger persists

WASHINGTON — About 2,000 Islamic State fighters are estimated to remain in the Syrian city of Raqqa, fighting for their survival in the face of an offensive by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.

Brett McGurk, U.S. special envoy for the coalition against Islamic State, said the SDF had cleared about 45 percent of Raqqa since launching an attack in early June to seize Islamic State’s stronghold in northern Syria.

“Today in Raqqa ISIS is fighting for every last block … and fighting for their own survival” McGurk told reporters.

Some 2,000 ISIS fighters are left in the city and “most likely will die in Raqqa,” he said.

The assault on Raqqa coincided with the final stages of a campaign to drive Islamic State from the Iraqi city of Mosul, where the Islamist militants were defeated last month.

McGurk said Islamic State has lost 27,000 square miles (70,000 sq km) of the territory it once held in the two countries – 78 percent of what they had seized in Iraq and 58 percent of what they held in Syria.

Before every military operation, coalition forces surround the area targeted to make sure Islamic State’s foreign fighters cannot escape and make their way out of Iraq and Syria, he said.

With the close cooperation of Turkish forces, the entire Syrian-Turkish border was sealed and Islamic State can no longer send militants trained in Syria for attacks in Europe and elsewhere, McGurk said.

The coalition has compiled a database of almost 19,000 names of Islamic State fighters gathered from cellphones, address books and other documents found on battlefields which it is sharing with the international police agency Interpol, he said.

Islamic State is also fighting the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Russian air power and Iranian-backed militias.

McGurk said “deconfliction” arrangements the U.S. and Russian militaries have made to avoid accidents as they operate separately in Syria were working well despite deteriorating diplomatic relations between the two countries.

President Donald Trump said on Thursday the U.S.-Russian relationship was at “an all-time and very dangerous low,” and Russia said new sanctions imposed by Washington meant an end to hopes for better ties with the Trump administration.

“So far we have not seen an effect on our engagement with the Russians when it comes to Syria,” McGurk said.

(Reporting by Washington Newsroom; Editing by Eric Beech and Tom Brown)

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40 SDF FIGHTERS REPORTEDLY KILLED IN ISIS CAR BOMB ATTACK IN RAQQA CITY

ISIS claimed that 40 fighters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were killed after a VBIED (car bomb) driven by a Tajik suicide bomber targeted their gathering in the Al-Hal market in the southern part of Raqqa city. ISIS addded that the attack also resulted in the destruction of two Humvees, two vehicles and 4 SDF fortified positions.

40 SDF Fighters Reportedly Killed In ISIS VBIED Attack In Raqqa City (Map, Photos)

Click to see the full-size image

40 SDF Fighters Reportedly Killed In ISIS VBIED Attack In Raqqa City (Map, Photos)

Click to see the full-size image

40 SDF Fighters Reportedly Killed In ISIS VBIED Attack In Raqqa City (Map, Photos)

Click to see the full-size image

40 SDF Fighters Reportedly Killed In ISIS VBIED Attack In Raqqa City (Map, Photos)

Click to see the full-size image

Separately, ISIS claimed that its snipers killed 5 SDF fighters and wounded 4 others in Hisham bin Abdul Malik and Nazlat Shehadeh districts and near the Al-Atiq Mosque.

US-led coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon said that ISIS uses IEDs and VBIEDs (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device — or car bomb)   in 80% of its attacks on The SDF in Raqqa city. Dillon confirmed that SDF controls about 45% of the city and not 55% as claimed by several pro-Kurdish sources.

The SDF continued its advance from the eastern, western and southern directions on ISIS positions. Only 250 meters is left until SDF units meet and capture all the southern districts of Raqqa city.

US-led coalition warplanes carried out 14 airstrikes on ISIS positions in Raqqa city in the last 24 hours. Opposition sources claimed that eight civilians from one family lost their life as a result of a US airstrike on the city yesterday.

ISIS increased suicide attacks against the SDF in Raqqa city, after the US-backed force had besieged ISIS inside the city completely.

https://southfront.org/40-sdf-fighters-killed-vbied-attack-raqqa-city/

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2 Responses to “About 2,000 Islamic State Fighters Remain in Syria’s Raqqa — Coalition observes car bomb kill SDF troops as danger persists”

  1. Brittius Says:

    Reblogged this on Brittius.

  2. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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